Seizon, The Last Vestige of Gaia

There’s drama aplenty to be had as Seizon (aka Renato Zampieri) reflects on the breadth of his career, from his days in the death metal band Gaia’s Vestige to orchestral to ambient, including a 10-section, 20-minute suite based on the exodus of Moses and the Jews. This piece, the titular “The Last Vestige of Gaia,” is the best stretch here. It is, as noted, quite dramatic, but it’s also reasonably restrained. Zampieri clearly has a strong story in mind, and he lays it out in bold, cinematic scenes. The music is like soundtrack-ready New Age, and for those 20 minutes, it’s a very compelling piece of work. Zampieri’s playing is solid and certain, especially on guitar. He moves easily through styles, from the Spanish-tinged dance of “Bellum” and the later parts of “Caeleste Signum” to the slow and moving “Ira,” which pairs potent post-rock guitar chords against the gorgeous vocals of his “Ghost Choir.” (Digging around for more info on this turned up nothing.) Unfortunately from there it gets a little overdone as Seizon moves into the “orchestral” mode with “The Dark Movements II.” (“The Dark Movements” is apparently a three-part piece inspired by H.P. Lovecraft’s Cthulu mythos. The first part is a full album Seizon released in 2008.) He falls into a degree of compositional bombast that borders uncomfortably on self-parody–especially when the composer takes us through a stretch of flamenco-inspired music complete with braying, da-ta-da! horns. He recovers with “The Mask Said,” which is the saving grace of this part of the disc. It gallops–and trust me, when you hear it you won’t be able to not see our hero racing on his steed along high cliffs over the sea–and sings with a Celtic flavor. A few well placed clangs of a church bell and the image is complete. The closer, “The Dark Movements III,” doesn’t suffer from the issues plaguing its predecessor. It’s got a post-rock side that mixes well with Seizon’s tendency for Spanish flair. This one is more in keeping with the suite, and ends the disc on a good note. Take out that middle piece and The Last Vestiges of Gaia becomes a very strong collection of instrumentals with stories to tell and images to share. Definitely worth checking out; samples are available.

Available at Bandcamp.

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